Coal Dust Sampling Results Show Mines Are Complying

MSHA reported 99 percent of the samples collected met new compliance levels.

According to a new report from MSHA, approximately 99 percent of the 7,456 valid respirable dust samples collected during the first two months under the new rule met compliance levels, despite concerns from the mining industry that it would have trouble meeting the requirements.

"Lowering Miners' Exposure to Respirable Coal Mine Dust, Including Continuous Personal Dust Monitors," the rule that became effective Aug. 1, substantially increases operator sampling for respirable coal mine dust and requires an operator to take immediate corrective action when an operator's sample shows excessive concentrations. The final rule authorizes MSHA to cite an operator based on a single MSHA sample showing excessive dust, rather than on an average of samples.

"These samples were all generated under the new, more rigid standard that requires them to be taken when mines are operating at 80 percent production or more," said Joe Main, assistant secretary of labor for mine safety and health. "And the results clearly show that mine operators are able to comply with the rule. That's good news for the health of all coal miners and our efforts to end black lung disease."

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